The Pitman High varsity football team fell to Gregori High 27-21 Friday night, putting up a fight against the undefeated Jaguars until the game’s final minutes.
“It was a very tough one,” said Pitman head coach Eric Reza. “We had our chances; we just didn’t capitalize on them. They’re a really talented team and we were right there with them.”
The Pride entered halftime up 14-6 over the Jaguars thanks to a touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Walker and a long touchdown run from running back Joey Stout. Walker finished the night 10-14 passing with 160 passing yards and the lone touchdown, while Stout rushed for 100 yards.
Gregori went on to score thrice more in the second half compared to one Pitman touchdown, which came courtesy of running back Jose Zamora. The Jaguars were able to contain Stout in the third and fourth quarter, forcing Reza to design plays around other offensive weapons.
Despite losing by less than one score, there was one aspect of the game Reza found particularly inspiring: players involved in Friday night’s biggest plays are juniors, leaving plenty to be excited about next season as well.
“As soon as you think this team just wants to give up and go, they don’t. They're resilient. I'm really proud of them and what I'm really excited about is we have a lot of juniors that contribute,” Reza said. “They're learning to never give up, and that's what we want. We want to build a culture that has that type of grit, that type of intensity and that type of attitude that we're not going to give up no matter what.”
Pitman (2-5 overall; 1-2 CCAL) will play this week at home against Modesto High (2-6 overall; 0-3 CCAL) at 7 p.m.
In Denair, the Coyotes fell to Delhi High 21-7 during their homecoming game. Although the team is still seeking its first win of the season, head coach Anthony Armas said he’s looking for the team to improve each week instead of overthinking the numbers on the scoreboard.
COVID policies, including quarantines for virus exposure, have taken their toll on students and pushed many athletes to quit the football team, Armas said, decimating a roster that was already low in numbers. Those who remain are committed to getting better in the face of adversity.
“We’re just trying to get better each week. At this point, we're just trying to look for some positives, trying to get better at doing the things that we do,” Armas said. “I don't know if we're really trying to chase scoreboards right now, we're just trying to get better as a team.”
A long touchdown by running back Isaac Martinez was the Coyotes’ only score of the night and put Denair within striking distance, down 14-7 after two 70-plus yard touchdowns by the Hawks. A 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter finished out the win for Delhi.
Penalties were the downfall for Denair, which will look to correct their mistakes next week in Newman as they take on Orestimba High. Denair is now 0-6 overall and 0-4 in Southern League play. Coyote fans can catch all the action from their matchup with Orestimba in next week’s episode of The Blitz.